FAIRFIELD, Calif. - Solano County has declared a local State of Emergency now that it has the nation's first known case of "community spread" coronavirus.
The patient did not travel to China, or have contact with anyone who did.
"At this point we don't know where the patient was exposed," said Dr. Bela Matyas, Public Health Officer for Solano County, speaking at a news briefing Thursday afternoon.
The unidentified woman is hospitalized at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.
She was transferred there from Northbay VacaValley Hospital when her conditioned worsened.
At both facilities, she came into contact with medical staff, and potentially infected numerous people.
"We have identified exposure to dozens of employees on our health team but it still remains less than one hundred," said Steve Huddleston of Northbay Healthcare.
Those employees, along with the woman's family and colleagues, are now in home quarantine or even more stringent isolation conditions, and are checked on several times daily.
"We make sure their needs are met, and they aren't developing signs or symptoms of the disease so there is an ongoing active surveillance of that group of people," said Matyas.
Officials won't disclose where in Solano County the woman lives, but say she has no connection to Travis Air Force Base or the Americans evacuated from China and quarantined there.
A federal whistleblower has claimed government workers sent to assist at airbases were not well equipped, trained or protected, and traveled freely off-base.
Solano officials defend the protocols at Travis.
"I have never worked with a more meticulous group of people, they were scary meticulous," said Matyas.
What is needed- all agreed- is a wider criteria for who should be tested, but there are obstacles.
Early symptoms resemble a common cold or respiratory infection, and test kits have not made it into mass production.
"We're still dealing with a test that is limited in availability so we have to prioritize by risk and we're not going to prioritize maybe's over likely's," said Matyas.
Medical professionals, including those at U.C. Davis Medical, have been frustrated that the test is not performed readily, as they requested with the female patient.
CDC defended the delay.
"There were multiple people involved over four days to make that decision, it wasn't necessarily CDC," said Dr. Christoper Braden of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
By declaring a local State of Emergency, Solano County hopes to prevent outbreak in high risk settings where people have close contact. Already, local schools are disinfecting shared surfaces, in anticipation of continued Coronavirus spread.
"We picked up on it, and it may also be in other communities and they don't know it," said Braden, "but we're going to see community transmission in the United States."
Their best hope, officials say, is to buy time to develop a vaccine and improve treatment.
"We know the cat is out of the bag in terms of having it spread so what we're trying to do is slow the spread as much as possible," said Matyas.
Shifting from trying to contain the disease, into managing it, is a different mindset for the public as well.
"From thinking that we're keeping it somewhere else, we've got to prepare to protect ourselves when it's here," said Braden.
Debora Villalon is a reporter forKTVU. Email Debora at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter@DeboraKTVU